Review Roundup: BEAUTY & THE BEAST: A 30th CELEBRATION Premieres on ABC

The special is now streaming on Disney+ and Hulu.

By: Dec. 16, 2022
Review Roundup: BEAUTY & THE BEAST: A 30th CELEBRATION Premieres on ABC

Last night, ABC celebrated 30 years of Beauty & the Beast with a special live action/animated hybrid special.

Live actions musical performances featured brand-new sets and breathtaking costumes inspired by the classic story. Each performance was created to pay homage while also adding to the iconic story for viewers at home. The songs were performed in front of a live audience at Disney Studios.

The special featured H.E.R. as Belle, Josh Groban as The Beast, Joshua Henry as Gaston, Rita Moreno as The Narrator, Martin Short as Lumiere, David Alan Grier as Cogsworth, Shania Twain as Mrs. Potts, Rizwan Manji as Lefou, Jon Jon Briones as Maurice, and Leo Abelo Perry as Chip. It also included special appearances by composer Alan Menken and original Belle Paige O'Hara.

Listen to the soundtrack from the special here. Check out photos from the special here. Watch musical performances from the special here.

With the special now available to stream on Disney+ and Hulu, check out what critics thought of the new special below!

Kelly Lawler, USA Today: The special is good in pieces. It's always nice to see Moreno or to hear an artist like H.E.R. cover a classic Disney tune. But it gets dull to watch it all put together. Any momentum built by one element skids to a halt when the action suddenly changes from animated to live or vice versa, or we are forced to listen to the cast talk about how much they love the musical and each other."

Andy Swift, TV Line: "As much as we enjoyed H.E.R.'s performance as Belle, she was never more captivating than when she returned to the stage with her guitar for the special's big finish. We never imagined what Beauty and the Beast's title track would sound like on electric guitar - and now we never want it any other way."

Alex Reif, Laughing Place: "For the most part, the lip-synching is excusable. After all, you don't really expect Martin Short and David Alan Grier to give their best vocal performances while dancing to "Be Our Guest." But at the same time, the special seems to have taken an all-or-nothing approach, with ballads like "Evermore" and "Beauty and the Beast" feeling underwhelming largely because the performers stand and sing, lip-synching for no apparent reason."

Laura Hurley, Cinema Blend: "Joshua Henry was an ideal Gaston from the jump, and Rizwan Manji showed off his version of LeFou in "Gaston." Surprisingly, one of the most elaborate numbers from the movie not involving magical furniture was pretty perfectly translated to live-action."

Watch a featurette on the making of the special here: